Roughriders 'bleed green' and donate blood in Regina

Dozens of Rider fans rolled up their sleeves at Canadian Blood Services in Regina to take part in the Bleed Green event.

Stars including Rob Bagg, Terrell Maze and Ben Heenan encouraged fans as they rolled up their sleeves

It’s said that Saskatchewan Roughrider fans bleed green, and on Wednesday, they did it for a good cause.

Dozens of Riders' fans rolled up their sleeves at Canadian Blood Services in Regina to take part in the Bleed Green event. It is the fifth year the Riders have partnered with Canadian Blood Services for the blood drive.

It’s all to help fill a need for blood donations across Canada. James Topinka, a manager at the non-profit, says the blood bank is at a five-year low, but today’s event alone will bring in more than 100 people.

But he says it is the constant flow of donors that is most important, adding that more than 400 appointments are still available in July.

“When we look at 415 appointments (it) could help supply up to 83 cancer appointments, eight severe car accident victims. So it’s remembering why it’s so important, and why it’s always in need,” Topinka said.

Terrell Maze stresses the importance

RoughriderCornerback Terrell Maze knows how important giving blood is from personal experience after a friend’s daughter needed of blood after she was born.

“He had a daughter recently who was born with a special heart condition and all of our friends we all came out and donated blood and we saw how much that meant to everyone and ever since then it's been a big deal,” Maze explained.

As the beds and waiting room filled up with eager Rider fans, the players, including Rob Bagg, Taj Smith, Ben Heenan and Paul Waldu, began chatting up the fans and signing autographs. A few gave blood themselves.

It was Rod Hameluck’s second time donating blood. And he said it's something he would have done without the special Riders day, but he admitted it was a bonus.

“It’ll be nice to see the team come down here,” Hameluck said. “My wife reminded me this morning that they were going to be here at the same time so she said ‘don’t leave the house without wearing your green,’” he laughed.

The Bleed Green program takes place throughout the Rider season. Anyone who gives blood is entered into a contest for Rider tickets and a chance to hold the Canadian flag on the field before the game.